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Interview: Photographer Benoît Vandenkieboom (Belgium)

Can you tell us a little about you?

Hi, my name is Benoit Vandenkieboom from Belgium. I live in the countryside of Liège for some years now. I did not study photography but I made some years of illustration. My real job is computer scientist and I write softwares for a big company. I have a daughter of 16 but she don’t like to be shooted. So with confinement I've got some free time to learn new technics or retouching older pictures. I'm also comedian and I do cabaret or street theater. I like the contact with people, very funny. I like music and dancing too...

How and when did you get into photography?

Well, as i said before I made some years of illustration and at that time I hesitated between that and photography but I hadn't financial means. So some years ago, about five, I bought a camera and started some lessons over the net. I started with different kind of pictures, landscape, macro, abstract and finally model. After that I did workshops, watching youtube to find how to do retouching. I received a good return on my picture and that gave me hope and energy to go further... I bought new camera, some lens, new iMac 27 and Wacom tablet. I'm using Affinity Photo both on the mac and iPad now and that since the beginning of the app.

What does photography mean to you?

What does it mean ? Hum... First of all as an amateur it's mainly a passion. when I do a shooting it's not for earn money so I don't have have the stress to be productive. We take time, speak, laughs... So the first part is the meeting with peoples. It's important to be comfortable with the model. After that the retouching part is perhaps for me the most interesting. It's so funny to see how we can change a picture and enhance it.

Finally it's means of expression to show the beauty, or not, of things around us. Picture is unique and will not be the same again.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

When you asked me that question some years ago I said that I didn't really know my style yet because I was a newbie. Now, I’m still a newbie but less, one thing is become evident for me ! I'm doing the most part of my pictures in black and white. Why ? First of all I'm color blind. So bw helps lol. But it's not the only raison. I think that black and white is more expressive, just using lights and shadows.

I think that I try to find sensibility and sweetness in my pictures, trying to show the beauty of women not only with they curves but with they fragility.

Yes I know the nirvana is hard to reach and I will never find it because of leak of time... but I'm trying to be better everyday :-)

Where do you get inspiration from?

I'm looking a lot of pictures everyday on different social media and I find so many beautiful pictures that I think "oh if I could do that too". But in other hand as I said picture is unique so we can use it as inspiration but... The real images comes to me when I see the model in the place.

Do you think in advance what you want in the picture ?

Bad boy ! In the most case I do nothing before the shoot. Certainly yes if it's a boudoir session I look for the room before or for outdoor session I try to find some spots over the net or when I'm walking in different places.

I know that I should make a storyboard and perhaps some more detailed projects but time is expensive for me so...

I would like to work with makeup artist or stylist too but it's not easy to find when we are newbie and not a professional.

Studio, on location or both?

Now I joined a photo club and we have an equiped studio at our disposition. So I do a lot of studio pictures. After that I like boudoir sessions so I sometimes rent a room or try to find some friends who give me their apartment for a while.. If the weather is correct I also do outdoor.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

As I said previously I'm not a professional ! I take picture for pleasure when I have time and find a model that inspire myself. Last year I only did four sessions but it was a special year. My goal is to do one over a month or two. Not not lot at all ! But I can't do more because I take time for retouching and I never be satisfied, unfortunately ha ha.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

I will never forget the first time I made a nude session. I was very newbie at that time and it's as a workshop, I think the first for me. I didn't know well my settings and was very nervous. A colleague asked me if I have Parkinson because I was shaking while holding my camera. At this moment the model (Katia Martin) started to talk to me to put me at ease. She was very nice with me. After a lot of laughs I did some nice pictures of her... never forget really.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

I use a canon 5DIII with some different lens. But my favorite one is the Sigma Art 85 1.4

I also have 100 macro 2.8, Sigma Art 24-70 and a canon 50 1.4

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

This is a difficult question for me due to my situation but from my point of vue it’s a difficult business. I think we have to find something different ( I’m still looking for ).

What do you think of our new magazine?

I discovered it some years ago when I saw a friend model interview and I was surprised to be invited for an interview at that time. It was three years ago and I really was a newbie. After that I had the chance to be published for some pic of the day.

The magazine is really interesting and source of inspiration too because there's a lot of beautiful pictures in it.

I know I'm a lucky guy to write this new interview and make part of some of them. I would like to thanks Peter to give me that chance. Continue to make us dreaming with all these publications.

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